The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Masai Is Ready to Rumble

Former world 10,000m champion Linet Masai leads a galaxy of stars to the fourth leg of the AK/KCB cross country series this weekend in Kapsokwony, Mount Elgon.

Masai has graced the IAAF cross country challenge in Europe recently and will be gunning to beat three-time winner Emily Chebet who has been on form in the series.

According to Athletics Kenya public relations officer Peter Angwenyi, over 500 athletes are expected for the event.

"We are expecting a big turnout as athletes strive to stay in contention for the jackpot and try and qualify for the Kenya team to the world cross country championships in Poland next year.

Masai and Chebet will battle it out in the senior women's category with Masai keen to end Chebet 's winning streak in the race. Chebet beat Masai to win the 2010 world cross country title in Poland.

Others who will be in contention in Kapsokwony include Stacy Nagwa who came second at the Kisii event, Phanece Chemutai, Delvin Meringor, Jane Murage and Hyline Mongare.

In the senior mens category, Richard Sigei will be looking to claim a second win after a surprise win in Kisii last weekend. Sigei mastered the hilly course in Kisii and a similar course is expected in Kapsokwony and he may be one of the frontrunner's to take the title.

Sigei faces stiff opposition from the likes of Jairus Kipchoge, Eric Langat , John Mwangangi and Caleb Mwangangi. The 2010 world cross country champion Joseph Ebuya who failed to finish the event in Kisii will try his luck again as he seeks to bounce back to form.

In the junior women's category world junior champion Faith Chepngetich is expected to grace the event after stunning performance in Kisii where she dominated.

Elsewhere Athletics Kenya chairman Isaiah Kiplagat has warned race organisers not to include young athletes in road races. Kiplagat added the races shorten the careers of young athletes and said the country was suffering as a result.

"We are suffering as a federation when young athletes start road running so I want to ask race organisers to spare young athletes." added Kiplagat Kiplagat said many young athletes are suffering knee and ankle ligament damage from road running at a very young age.

Kiplagat said the federation was going to crack down on the issue from next year. "From next year we are evaluating road races to ensure young athletes don't take part in them" he added.

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